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‘Avoid unnecessary work’: Minister warns countrymen to take it easy as ‘dangerous’ heat wave hits Greece

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Greeks have been told to avoid unnecessary work and travel as temperatures hit 40 degrees Celsius in Athens and are expected to rise further with the city’s biggest tourist attraction already forced to close.

On Friday, Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis urged people to be careful and “show the highest degree of responsibility and cooperation” as temperatures soared across Greece.

“I also want to appeal to our fellow citizens to avoid unnecessary travel in the heat but also unnecessary work,” he added. 

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Temperatures in the capital reached 40 degrees Celsius on Friday, briefly causing the Acropolis, the city’s biggest tourist attraction, to close.

Forecasters from the National Meteorological Service have warned of wildfires, similar to those ravaging Turkey, with temperatures set to get as high as 44 C on Monday and Tuesday. The meteorologists labeled the heat wave, which is expected to last until next Friday, as “dangerous”

Stavros Solomos, researcher at the Centre for Atmospheric Physics and Climatology of the Academy of Athens, told Reuters that they have been constantly observing new record temperatures in recent years. 

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“We are expecting to have more frequent, more intense heat waves,” he said, adding that there will be more “tropical nights,” meaning after-dusk temperatures do not fall below 20 C. “Tropical nights” are considered dangerous as the human body requires time to cool down.

The fire brigade said that it had tackled more than 40 wildfires in the last 24 hours.

Extreme weather patterns have made headline news across the world in recent weeks, with devastating floods in India, China, and Central Europe, snow in southern Brazil, and heat waves in Canada and the eastern Mediterranean.

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