Britons are being urged to do the “neighbourly thing” and check on people who may be more vulnerable as the UK braces for potentially record-breaking temperatures.
It’s the second emergency summit held since the UK Health Security Agency increased its heat health warning from level three to level four – a national emergency.
Cabinet Office minister Kit Malthouse, who chaired the meeting, said older people and babies were “particularly vulnerable groups, who will need us all to look out for them”.
“[People] should take precautions themselves – stay in the shade, drink lots of water, stay hydrated,” he said.
“But in particular, they should look out for those two groups and do the neighbourly thing… knock on an elderly neighbour’s door, make sure they are okay, that they’ve got access to water.
“If you’ve got a tiny baby, make sure it’s kept cool, possibly in a colder bath or chilled in some way.”
There’s now an 80% chance that temperatures will top the UK’s record of 38.7C (101.7F), set in Cambridge in 2019, according to forecasters, with a 50% chance of 40C on Tuesday.
The hottest area – under a Met Office “extreme heat” alert on Monday and Tuesday – covers all the way from London in the south, through the Midlands and as far north as Greater Manchester and York.
The rest of England and Wales is under an amber warning, while Scotland and Northern Ireland will be much cooler, with temperatures in the mid to late 20s.
Railways and schools brace for extreme heat
Train companies have warned of disruption and cancellations when the heat peaks due to factors such as reduced speed limits.
Network Rail said people should only to travel if necessary.
“Services are going to be significantly affected. The heat will impact rails, for example, so the trains have to run slower. There may be fewer services. People need to be on their guard for disruption,” said Mr Malthouse.
“If they don’t have to travel, this may be a moment to work from home,” he added.
Drivers have also been advised to make their journeys out of the hottest periods of the day, particularly if they have older cars.
Some schools are also planning to shut due to risks such as dangerously hot classrooms. The NEU teaching union has said it will support headteachers taking this decision.
The government is not imposing closures and has said it’s up to school leaders to decide what action to take.
Some schools have said they will arrange a skeleton staff to keep the buildings open for parents unable to find alternative childcare at short notice.
Nurseries in some locations will also be restricting their hours following Public Health England’s guidelines for supporting children in Early Years.
The majority of UK schools are set to break up for the summer holidays later in the week.