France delays exams as heatwave grips Europe

PARIS: Fans flew off store shelves and water fountains offered relief from the heat as temperatures soared in Europe on Monday, with officials urging vigilance ahead of even hotter conditions forecast later in the week.
Meteorologists blamed a blast of torrid air from the Sahara for the unusually early summer heatwave, which could send thermometers up to 40 degrees Celsius across large swathes of the continent with France experiencing particularly hot temperatures.
Authorities have issued warnings against dehydration and heatstroke, in particular for children and the elderly, and hospitals have been placed on high alert.
“I’m worried about people who are downplaying this, who are continuing to exercise as usual or stay out
in the sun,” French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said.
“This affects all of us, nobody is a superman when it comes to dealing with the extreme heat we’re going to see on Thursday and Friday,” she told a press conference.
In a highly unusual move, French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer announced a delay to national school exams to protect pupils during the heatwave.
The Brevet national diploma exam — a key test for children aged around 14 that was set for Thursday and Friday — would be delayed until Monday and Tuesday next week, he said. France still remembers the heatwave of August 2003 which was blamed for the deaths of 15,000 people and led to a surge of criticism over how authorities cared for those most vulnerable at the height of the summer holidays. — AFP