Sydney news: Oran Park coronavirus cluster stumps authorities, refuge centres to take pets - ABC News  10/18/2020 19:32:09 

Here's what you need to know this morning.

Oran Park stumps authorities

NSW health authorities remained stumped about the source of the Oran Park coronavirus cluster, which yesterday grew to 19 cases.

But genome sequencing has drawn a link between this cluster and similar ones at Lakemba and Liverpool Hospital's emergency department.

NSW Health's Dr Christine Selvey said without high rates of testing, the state's handle on coronavirus could easily slip.

"We can catch cases early, we can control those clusters with public health measures and contact tracing, but if people don't come forward then the virus could be spreading out of control."

60C surfaces at school

A woman and her daughter after school
Cindy Brown says her daughter Evie regularly leaves school "sweated through and flushed".(ABC News: Mridula Amin)

New research has revealed the hidden danger of sweltering hot days at schools in Sydney's west.

The study, from Western Sydney University, revealed common surfaces used in central schoolyards, such as unshaded asphalt and artificial grass, recorded surface temperatures of more than 60C during days of extreme heat last year.

Cindy Brown's six-year-old daughter Evie attends a primary school in Rydalmere which is covered in only concrete and artificial grass. Most of it is unshaded.

"Every week I'll pick her up and she's sweated through and flushed, and it's not even summer yet," Ms Brown said.

Missing teen appeal

A teen boy of middle eastern appearance in a black sweater and a white collared shirt smiles at the camera
Missing teen Hamdi Elsayed is known to frequent the Birrong, Chullora and Bankstown area.(Supplied.)

A seventeen-year-old boy is missing in Sydney's west.

Hamdi Elsayed was last seen about 7:15pm yesterday near his home on McCrossin Street in Birrong.

He is described as being of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern appearance, and was last seen wearing a grey t-shirt with a white collar, black and grey shorts, long soccer socks and black soccer boots.

"Police and his family have concerns for his wellbeing," a NSW Police spokesperson said.

Refuge centres will take pets

A smiling woman with blonde hair
MP Emma Hurst said the legislation will make it easier for women to flee dangerous situations.(Supplied: Facebook)

Survivors of domestic violence and their animals will be better protected as funding was announced for refuge centres to accommodate domestic pets.

Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst said the Animal Welfare Support funding package acknowledges the link between animal abuse and domestic violence.

"We're also working towards legislative reform that includes animals explicitly on apprehended domestic violence orders," she said.

"And also recognising that animals are also used as a form of intimidation in domestic violence."

HSC begins tomorrow

Year 12 students across the state are cramming today as the HSC final exams begins with English tomorrow.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell assured school communities across NSW that coronavirus safety measures will be in place to protect students and staff.

"We need to be COVID-safe for this year's HSC ... so the students will notice things like less numbers of students in exam rooms, plenty of hand sanitiser and also being asked on the way into the exam if they feel unwell," she said.

"But, by and large, we've tried to make the disruptions as minimal as possible, we just want the students to be focusing on their exams when they kick off tomorrow."

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