The Meteorological office has issued a red weather warning as temperatures are expected to hit 40°C on several days this week, with "extremely high" UV levels.

Instructing the public to “take action,” the Met Office forecast temperatures of 40°C, but feeling as hot as 41°C with humidity of 23 per cent.  

The UV index is also expected to rise to 12, it said, meaning there is a very high risk of harm from radiation emitted by the sun to unprotected skin.

The health authorities said that last weekend seven patients were treated at the Mater Dei Hospital A&E Department for heatstroke, sunstroke, hyperthermia and sunburn.  One patient required further care and was admitted into the MDH wards. Two patients required minimal medical care at the Victoria Health Centre in Gozo. None of them were referred to the hospital for further treatment. 

This week, temperatures are forecast to hit 40°C on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, with UV levels remaining high all week at 11. 

According to the World Health Organisation, UV levels of 11 and over are regarded as "extremely high" and require extra protection.

Charmain Gauci, Director of Public Health, said that it is important for everyone to stay hydrated with, take regular intake of water and avoid energy drinks, caffeine, and limit alcohol.

People were also urged to keep cool and prevent homes and workplaces from overheating. "Watch out for people who are vulnerable especially the elderly and people with lung and heart conditions," she said. 

Last week, the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate urged people to stay out of the sun between 11am and 4pm and keep out of direct sunlight where possible.  

Young children and pets should not be left alone in cars, and loose-fitting clothing and hats are advised.  

The very high temperatures come amidst heatwave 'Cerberus' gripping Europe, which has seen wildfires rage across areas of Greece forcing the evacuation of 1,200 children close to a seaside resort. 

Meanwhile, the European Space Agency has predicted temperatures to rise as high as 48 degrees Celsius on the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia. 

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