BANGKOK: Temperatures have soared above 40 degrees in northern and central Thailand over recent days, scarcely dropping below 30 degrees at night as an extreme heat wave hits the country, a popular tourist destination year-round, reported dpa news.

The authorities have urged residents to remain indoors during the middle of the day. “The Department of Health urges the public to stay indoors and avoid outdoor activities amidst the risk of heatstroke,“ the Pattaya Mail reported on Wednesday.

“With maximum temperatures ranging from 41-42 degrees Celsius in the northern, north-eastern, and central regions, and 39-40 degrees Celsius in the eastern and southern regions, including Bangkok, staying indoors is paramount for safety,“ it said.

Tourists are being issued special UV screens at popular destinations, including the temple complexes in Ayutthaya. Residents can be seen on the streets with parasols and mini fans.

Temperatures have been above normal since last month in many areas. The weather bureau has warned that this summer, which begins in Thailand at the end of February, could be two degrees hotter than usual.

There are fears that the heat index, or what the temperature feels like when taking into account the air temperature, relative humidity and wind speed, could reach above 50 degrees. -Bernama