Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has COVID-19 and everyone’s first thought was: fuck, so now we just have to look at Scott Morrison‘s face all week? What will happen to Labor’s election campaign? How will Morrison use Albanese’s absence to his advantage? Basically, this is bad timing for Labor. But don’t panic, let’s break down what this all means.

Albanese announced on Thursday evening — exactly one month from election day — he’d tested positive after taking a routine PCR test before traveling to Western Australia. He said he was feeling pretty OK.

He confirmed he’d be isolating at home in Sydney for the next seven days but that wouldn’t stop him from campaigning.

“While at home I will continue my responsibilities as alternative Prime Minister and will be fighting for a better future for all Australians,” he said in a post.

He announced his election campaign would go virtual and that he would ramp up his media appearances on radio, television and online interviews from home to keep Labor in the spotlight.

Labor’s leadership team met on Thursday night to lock down its contingency plan to be implemented from Friday.

Each party has obviously put some preparation into situations like these arising mid-campaign, but we could’ve expected this to have thrown everyone in the Labor party off a little.

But at a press conference on Friday morning Labor MP Jason Clare told journalists quite the opposite.

“I think it’s a positive for our campaign. The more they see of Scott Morrison, the more they will realise this government has run out of puff,” he said.

“We planned for this for months. It’s inevitable that people will get COVID if they’re out and about. I see this an opportunity, I got to say. Not only do we have a better plan, we have a better team.”

Albanese has steadily slipped in the polls over the last month and two of the most recent polls this week showed Morrison was actually back up at preferred PM. Putting Albanese to the back row for a week could actually work for Labor by giving it a chance to trot out some of its other more popular members.

Labor’s deputy leader Richard Marles will likely take on some more duties but will not be stepping up to lead the campaign.

Clare said the labour would be shared, probably because no one knows who Marles is and he’s said some controversial things this week.

We can probably expect to see more of Labor MPs Tanya Plibersek and Penny Wong. The pressure is well and truly on them all now.

Morrison will also capitalise on Albanese’s time away from the cameras and won’t give Labor any breaks while Albanese has COVID. We can expect Morrison will go harder than usual on other Labor members in the coming week.

Once Albanese’s out of iso no doubt he’ll be straight back to it, campaigning hard around the clock.

No matter what we’re in for a very interesting week.

Image: Getty Images / Jason Edwards