Mediterranean countries are closing tourist attractions and stepping up health care for heat-related illnesses, a report by Financial Times.

While the temperatures reach levels record across the Mediterranean, the European Weather Service warns that the continent should prepare for more intense and longer-lasting heatwaves.

“We expect heat waves, like those that hit Europe last summer or the one currently underway, to become more intense and last longer due to climate change,” said Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Temperatures soared past 40C in cities across Italy and Spain last week, prompting authorities to close tourist attractions and issue warnings.

The continent’s heat wave comes after the hottest June on record globally and the hottest first week of July. According to his service Copernicus, temperatures in June were 0.5 degrees Celsius above the global average.

Weather conditions have a negative impact on tourism, agriculture and industry. Multiple wildfires outside Athens that started last Monday were still burning Tuesday, destroying homes and cars and forcing thousands of residents and children from summer camps to evacuate the area.

Strong winds combined with high temperatures put the greater Athens area on the highest fire alert level, the Financial Times reports.

Speaking to the Financial Times about the restrictions on the operation of its attractions of Athens due to the heat, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said she was receiving hourly updates on the heat to decide whether to keep venues open and stressed that “we all have to adapt to the climate crisis we are facing”.

In Italy, health authorities declared a heat emergency in more than 20 cities last week, while hospitals have been warned to prepare for a possible surge of people suffering from heat-related problems and requiring emergency care.

In Rome, where tourists struggled to find cool or shady resting spots, the city’s conservation organization and volunteers set up 28 aid stations across the city to provide water, as well as medical aid, to those overcome by the heat.

Study led by Global Health Institute of Barcelona estimated that more than 61,000 people died from heat-related conditions in Europe between late May and early September last year, with Italy worst hit by the heat. Spain and Germany were also among those with the highest number of heat-related deaths.

Heatwaves are becoming more common in all parts of the world, but Europe is warming faster than the global average because of its high percentage of land mass and its location on the Earth’s surface.