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A croaky Anthony Albanese has spoken for the first time since contracting Covid in the opening days of the election trail.
The Labor leader tested positive for the virus on Thursday after a series of public events, confirming he would spend the next seven days isolating in Sydney.
Mr Albanese appeared on ABC on Friday afternoon, admitting he wasn’t feeling well but wouldn’t let it affect his campaign.
‘I’ve had better days, but a lot of people have had it a lot worse,’ he said.
‘I will get lots of rest, lots of fluids and take everything else that my doctor has told me to do. I’ll certainly take that advice.’
The Labor leader said on Thursday evening he had been struck down with the virus and would spend the next seven days isolating in Sydney
A croaky Anthony Albanese has spoken for the first time since contracting Covid in the opening days of the election trail
Mr Albanese’s positive result has thrown his election campaign plans into disarray, but the PM hopeful is expected to keep Labor in voters’ minds by doing radio, TV and online interviews from his home.
‘I’ll be isolating for seven days here at home in Marrickville and then I’m able to join the campaign physically rather than digitally,’ he said on Friday.
He said Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles will take his place in Darwin on ANZAC Day, with Mr Albanese saying he was ‘really looking forward’ to attending the service.
‘It’s always a special day to pay tribute to the men and women who defended us and continue to do so,’ he told ABC.
‘I was really looking forward to it … (but) we’ll get through it. This is Australia and indeed the world in 2022 unfortunately.’
Labor have seen several high profile MPs be struck down by the virus already, including Tony Burke and Kristina Keneally.
‘It’s not surprising. A whole range of people go down with Covid, and I’m sure it’s the same on the other side,’ Mr Albanese told the ABC.
‘We’ve got people who will come in and fill the appointments I’ve made.’
He spent Thursday campaigning in NSW’s South Coast for the seat of Gilmore where he visited a distillery and an aged care assisted living facility
Scott Morrison meanwhile is soldiering on with his campaign, visiting the RAAF Amberley Base east of Brisbane on Friday
Mr Albanese also continued his attack on the federal government allowing China to swoop in and sign a security deal with the Solomon Islands – a contract that could see Communist military bases built within 2,000kilometres of Australia.
The Labor leader described it as the country’s ‘worst foreign policy failure’ and said the nation ‘must respond’.
‘China has changed its position… We need to recognise that there is that strategic competition in the region – that China is trying to extend its influence,’ he said.
‘If we are to maintain our influence, we need to respond, be forward-leaning, make sure that we’re engaged on the policy issues that are of concern to the Solomons, but also be engaged with issues like foreign aid.
‘Be partners of choice – that historically is the role that we have played in the Pacific.
Mr Albanese said Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles will take his place in Darwin on ANZAC Day, saying he was ‘really looking forward’ to attending the service
Mr Marles is understood to be earmarked to step in to replace Mr Albanese at other key events.
Mr Albanese had been at Bluesfest in Byron Bay on Sunday, attended by more than 100,000 people, with northern NSW seeing a spike in Covid infections this week.
Two monthly highs of 631 cases on Wednesday and 719 infections on Thursday have been recorded – around double the daily cases average over the past two weeks.
Some areas in northern NSW are also lagging in vaccination rates.
Mr Albanese said he’d been testing regularly during his time on the election campaign, and had taken a PCR test ahead of a scheduled trip to Western Australia.
The man vying for Australia’s top job has been out and about campaigning in the community in recent days, meeting voters and shaking hands with the election just weeks away.
On Thursday he visited a retirement village on the South Coast and a shopping centre in Sydney.
His party’s formal launch is set for May 1 in Perth.
Mr Albanese and Mr Morrison are seen shaking hands during the first election debate on Wednesday
On Wednesday night he went head-to-head with Mr Morrison for Sky News and The Courier Mail’s People’s Forum.
The PM tested positive to the virus himself in early March.
Mr Morrison tweeted on Thursday evening saying he wished Mr Albanese all the best in his recovery.
‘Everyone’s experience with Covid is different and as Labor’s campaign continues, I hope he does not experience any serious symptoms,’ the PM said.
Mr Morrison is not considered a close contact and it’s understood he has personally reached out to Mr Albanese.
Labor had put in strong measures to try prevent any spread of Covid after members of the party recently tested positive.