Australia’s youngest female victim of Covid-19, Adriana Midori Takara, a Brazilian citizen who died in Sydney at the weekend aged 38, was a woman “full of health, full of dreams” who had tried to get a vaccine appointment, a family member has said.
Businesswoman Renata Harumi Takara, 45, Adriana’s cousin, said the Brazilian family was appalled that the student accountant had died so quickly and despite having no underlying medical conditions.
“Everyone is in shock, we cannot believe this actually happened,” Renata Takara told the Guardian from São Paulo.
Adriana Takara is among the 918 Covid deaths in Australia, far from the 550,000 recorded in her home country, where citizens have been taking to the streets to protest against the federal government’s mishandling of the pandemic. It was her death in the apparent safety of Australia that the family finds so hard to accept.
Ten days before she died, Takara expressed fears of having contracted the virus. A first test was a false negative but a second confirmed the infection. She went to a hotel to isolate before being admitted to Royal Prince Alfred hospital.
“The process was very fast,” Renata Takara said, crying as she described her cousin’s last days.
“I learned about her infection on Thursday when she had surgery on her leg to fight thrombosis. On the weekend, she needed a second surgery on the other leg because of the same reason, but the doctor said that she was too debilitated, too weak, she would not stand anaesthesia.
“She couldn’t eat at the hotel, she was feeling weak, far from her family, from comfort, from affection.”
She said doctors had urgently set up videoconferencing from the hospital to allow five relatives to say goodbye.
“My mother, her godmother, was on the call, and is having a hard time dealing with it, the penny hasn’t dropped yet,” Renata Takara said.
“She was always a sweet, smiling, kind, gentle, caring girl. She was very close to the family, she was a daughter that no parent would have anything to complain about.”
Adriana was the second of four siblings. The youngest, Hélio Takara, also lives in Sydney. Renata Takara said Hélio was receiving help from the Brazilian embassy to take Adriana’s ashes to São Paulo, where her family is organising a Buddhist ceremony.
Fernanda Batista, a friend in Sydney, set up a fundraising campaign to help the family to cover the costs, which has so far raised more than $27,000.
On the campaign page, Batista wrote that “every one that is lucky enough to have been part of Adriana’s life will remember her kindness and her bright smile forever”.
Renata said the Takara family, which has strong ties in São Paulo’s Japanese community, had noticed a number of tributes to Adriana on social media. .
The cousins were born and raised in the middle-class northern suburbs of the city.
“She was very loved, she had a lot of childhood friends here,” Renata Takara said. “She had charisma, charm. She has always been a smiling person.”
She said Adriana had been happy living in Australia, where she spent more than a decade and dreamed of having a permanent visa. In 2016 she put her studies on hold and flew back to São Paulo after her mother, Aparecida Tomiko Takara, died of a respiratory arrest.
She returned to Australia to finish her master’s degree in accounting at Kaplan business school, following in her family’s entrepreneurial tradition. Her father, now retired, ran local businesses in São Paulo.
“Like every international student, she came to Australia to pursue hopes and dreams,” Belle Lim, the president of the Council of International Students Australia, said in a statement.
In the cousins’ last exchange of messages six weeks ago, Renata and Adriana shared family and work news. A hardworking student, Adriana was about to finish a university assignment.
“I wished her good luck and thought we would talk soon,” Renata said.