A heat wave coming all the way from Africa arrived in the Czech Republic at the weekend, with Prague seeing a new record temperature of 35.8 degrees Celsius (96F) on Sunday. But Czechs are now bracing themselves for even hotter weather: forecasters say Monday could be the hottest day ever recorded in this country, with temperatures of up to 39 degrees Celsius expected.

At lunchtime on Monday, temperatures were already climbing up fast. To get the feeling of what it was like in the centre of Prague I spoke to some passers-by at the top of Wenceslas Square. Most of them seemed to be quite happy rushing off to their air-conditioned offices:

Young woman: "I am working and this office is air-conditioned so I don't have problems with that."

Young man: "I don't think it's good for us. I would like to stay at home but I have to go to the city and it's really exhausting."

Young woman: "I don't even go outside. I stay in my work so I cope with this weather very well. We have air conditioning, so for me it's no problem."

Young man: "It's quite nice. I have been one year in Portugal, so I am quite used to this weather, to these temperatures."

Health officials have warned people, especially children and elderly as well as those suffering from heart or respiration problems, against going outside in the mid-day sun. Jirina Ernestova, spokesperson for Prague ambulance service, confirms that paramedics have been twice as busy as usual since the arrival of the heat-wave:

In normal weather, the number of call-outs is about forty or fifty. During these hot days it is about a hundred call-outs per day.
If you can't stay at home and have to go to work, be sure you drink enough water and if possible, stay away from the dangerous UV rays. Michael Vit is the chief health inspector of the Czech Republic:
It is important that people drink two to three litres of unsweetened water or tea at work. And talking about employers, they can provide their employees with drinks and if necessary arrange some extra breaks.

According to weather forecasters, Czechs will have to put up with the tropical weather until tomorrow evening. Wednesday is expected to bring cooler temperatures as well as some rain.