Australia: opposition leader tests positive for COVID-19

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s opposition leader said Thursday he has tested positive for COVID-19 in the second week of campaigning ahead of the May 21 election.

Anthony Albanese, 59, a leader of the centre-left Labor Party, said he was feeling fine and will remain in quarantine at his home in Sydney for a week.

“From home, I will continue to fulfill my responsibilities as an alternate prime minister and my fight for a better future for all Australians,” Albanese said in a statement.

The party, seeking its first electoral victory since 2010, leads Conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the polls.

Morrison, 53, tested positive for COVID-19 on March 1 with mild symptoms.

Morrison and Albanese squared off in a debate on Wednesday. They shook hands and posed together for photos.

Morrison sent a greeting to Albanese with his best wishes.

“Everyone has a different experience with COVID, and as the Labor campaign continues, I hope he does not suffer from severe symptoms,” Morrison tweeted.

Hours before testing positive, Albanese wore a mask during a visit to a retirement community in Nowra, south of Sydney.

Albanese said he tested positive in a routine PCR test before a scheduled flight to Perth on the west coast.

Australia reported 54,137 new cases in the last 24 hours with 50 deaths in a population of 26 million.

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