New health alert issued for tourists in Greece as six people tragically die in heatwave

People cool themselves in a fountain during a hot day in Athens, Greece
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


The Greek government has implemented a range of safety measures in response to the lethal heatwave that has resulted in the death of at least six tourists. The nation is currently battling with skyrocketing temperatures, which have surpassed 50C.

Earlier this week, Greece was also affected by wildfires due to the extremely hot, dry and windy conditions. Six villages or settlements were ordered to evacuate as wildfires erupted near Anavyssos, just south of Athens, and in the southern Peloponnese region.

Owing to the weather forecast, the greater Athens region was put on high alert for wildfires, with restrictions placed on entering forests and parks. In response to these conditions, the City of Athens has introduced measures to aid both citizens and tourists.

Most of the fatalities have been hikers who went missing in the extreme heat after encountering difficulties, including TV doctor Michael Mosley. As of yesterday, Athens has opened air-conditioned spaces, provided medical advice and support, and increased fire patrols in the capital's major parks and forests.

According to the Keep Talking Greece website, there is no end date for these new measures, with officials predicting an extended period of extreme heat. Social workers, nurses and psychologists working with the city's homeless population will be distributing water, meals, coffee and protection kits on the streets, reports the Express, reports the Mirror.

In response to the scorching temperatures, municipal patrols in Athens are ramping up their vigilance against potential fires on Lycabettus Hill, employing both foot patrols and drone technology. Additionally, over 150 water containers have been strategically placed to provide relief for the city's stray cats and dogs.

Tourists during high temperatures in Athens, Greece. New protocols have been introduced
-Credit:Getty

Brits abroad can get advice and support for tourists and residents at https://coolathens. cityofathens.gr/en/, a website in English and Greek.

A cutting-edge mobile application, Extrema, has been developed to deliver live updates on daily temperature readings and heat classifications, complete with advice on appropriate precautions. The app showcases the nearest 'cool spots' such as fountains and parks, suggests the coolest walking paths via shaded, tree-lined streets, and provides updates on local air pollution levels, enabling users to assess and mitigate health risks.

Extrema, which supports six languages, also features integrated locations of Athens' major tourist attractions and museums. Furthermore, the UK Foreign Office has issued recommendations for coping with extreme heat while abroad, highlighting risks such as dehydration, overheating, and heatstroke.

The guidance, accessible here, directs travellers to the affiliated Travel Health Pro website, viewable here. It further advises: "Travellers can check weather forecasts at the destination to see if hot weather is expected. Outdoor air quality may also be worse during hot weather and it is advisable to check local air quality data for the destination."

"Travellers should be prepared for hot weather by packing lightweight, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothes, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. The NHS recommend that sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 as well as four- or five-star ultraviolet (UV) A protection. Those with underlying health conditions should get advice from their doctor or hospital specialist about managing their health in the heat, ideally 4-6 weeks before travel. Certain medications can increase the risk of poor health outcomes during hot weather."