[MADRID] Just days after lockdown ended and European travel restrictions were lifted, many were staying home Tuesday as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 deg C.
In some areas, the mercury was even seen topping 41 deg C, such as Seville in southern Spain where people were cooling off in fountains or taking a dip in the Guadalquivir River in the morning, an AFPTV correspondent said.
Elsewhere in southern and western areas, temperatures have hovered around 40 degrees since Sunday, and by Tuesday nine regions were on high alert for the heat which was expected to last until Thursday, Spain's AEMET national weather agency said.
France was also experiencing its first heatwave with temperatures in the mid-30s expected to last until Thursday, Meteo-France said.
And Britain was bracing for a flood of visitors to its beaches with the heatwave expected to last until Friday and temperatures set to climb into the mid-30s in the south and centre of the country.
"Forget Ibiza... it's hotter here," read the headline in Tuesday's Daily Express, as the Age Concern charity urged people to keep an eye out for elderly neighbours or relatives, particularly those living alone or self-isolating due to the virus.
Even the Nordic countries were expecting temperatures above 30 degrees this week, with Sweden's SMHI forecaster saying the hottest days would be Wednesday and Thursday and warning of the increased risk of forest fires.
Despite the soaring temperatures, Sweden's public health agency advised against using fans in communal areas of elderly care homes out of concern they could spread the virus.
They advised installing air conditioning or organising other means of shade to protect the elderly who would also be at risk from the heat.