Written by 12:32 World

Greece Closes Schools and Acropolis Amid Heat

Intense heat in Greece prompted a mini lockdown for two days starting on Wednesday, with some schools closing and the Acropolis restricting visiting hours, as the authorities searched for two foreign hikers just a few days after a British medical journalist was found dead on the island of Symi after going for a walk in searing heat.

The onset of sweltering temperatures, which meteorologists said might set a record on Thursday, prompted the Health Ministry to issue a warning to older people and people with chronic ailments to stay indoors. The authorities also advised anyone who works outdoors to avoid strenuous activity from noon to 5 p.m.

Temperatures were forecast to reach 41 Celsius, or 105.8 Fahrenheit, in Athens on Wednesday and rise to 42 Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit) on Thursday before dipping on Friday, according to Greece’s National Meteorological Service. The heat elsewhere in the Greek mainland was expected to reach 43 Celsius.

The tinderbox conditions also raised concerns about wildfires after a disastrous summer last year, when wildfires killed more than 20 people in Greece and razed vast areas of forestland. Greece’s civil protection authority and the army were conducting 24-hour patrols of major forests this week in an effort to prevent fires from breaking out.

Meteorologists have warned that Europe is on course to have another scorching summer. Last summer’s heat and wildfires hurt some Greek businesses that rely on tourism, although the country still reported record tourism revenue for the year overall. This year, while many visitors still plan to visit the Mediterranean nation, others are opting for cooler Northern European countries.

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Last modified: 13 June 2024
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