Malaysian-Born Dr Hailed A Hero For Preventing Second Wave of COVID-19 in South Australia

  • 26 Nov 2020

A Malaysian-born doctor is being praised as a hero for preventing a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak in Adelaide, South Australia.

Dr Dharminy Thurairatnam, who hails from Klang, was attending to a patient in her 80s, at the Lyell McEwin Hospital on Nov 13 when she noticed the woman had problem breathing. 

As Dharminy was contemplating subjecting the woman to a series of tests to determine her condition, the woman coughed twice. 

This triggered an "alarm bell" as the doctor decided to subject the patient to a COVID-19 swab, although it has been more than seven months since South Australia has had a locally acquired coronavirus case. 

As feared, the patient tested positive for the coronavirus just hours later, and this led to more than 4,000 close contacts of the patient being screened and isolated later. 

This includes Dharminy herself, who is now under quarantine at a hotel for coming into contact with the coronavirus patient. She has a sore throat and runny nose but has tested negative after two tests, and is due to be released this week.

"It was a scary experience... I was terrified not knowing if I had contracted the virus itself, but at the end of the day, one needs to have hope, faith and be positive that things will work out fine," the doctor in her 30s, was quoted telling 

Dharminy practised medicine in Penang and Singapore before moving to Adelaide late last year to further her medical career. She has not seen her husband, who works at a hospital in Singapore, and two children since March, due to the border closures caused by the coronavirus. 

Australia's top health professionals are praising "junior doctor" Dharminy, without naming her, for her vigilance in catching the virus so early and preventing a second wave of infections. 

Despite the commendations, Dharminy insists that she was merely doing her job, and attributes the success of stemming the second wave of infections to team work at the hospital. 

Photo source: Astro Awani,

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