UK heatwave: Millions of Brits set to stay at home over next 48 hours as sweltering weather reaches peak

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MILLIONS of workers are expected to stay at home over the next 48 hours as the heatwave hits its peak.

Sunseekers flocked to packed beaches yesterday — as a minister advised people to work from home today and tomorrow if they could.

However, the weather could even scupper that — with threats of heat-related blackouts, slower WiFi speeds and weak phone signals due to heatwave.

The Met Office warned: “There is a high risk of failure of heat-sensitive systems and equipment.

“That could potentially lead to localised loss of power and other essential services, such as water or mobile phone services.”

Experts reckon the heatwave could cost the economy £1.5billion in lost productivity.

Britain’s beaches were heaving yesterday, with the temperature peaking at 32.7C (91F) in Hawarden, Flintshire.

A red “danger to life” alert is in place over the next 48 hours.

The UK’s all-time high of 38.7C (102F) was recorded in Cambridge in July 2019.

Meanwhile, some headteachers announced pupils should stay at home — a move opposed by deputy PM Dominic Raab.

He said: “Making sure young children get the education they need is really important. Particularly after the pandemic and schools are well placed to do that.”

He was backed by shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson who said: “I think children have missed out quite a lot already in terms of their education and it’s right for them to be there.”

Mr Raab also tried to cool growing hysteria, adding: “We ought to enjoy the sunshine and actually we ought to be resilient enough through some of the pressures it will place.” 

Asked if people should work from home, Mr Raab said: “That is for employers to consider and people to decide.”

However, as rail operators warned of significant delays and cancellations Cabinet Office minister Kit Malthouse said: “People need to be on their guard for disruption. If they don’t have to travel, this may be a moment to work from home.”

London North Eastern Railway axed all of its services on Tuesday from King’s Cross to York, Leeds and Lincoln.

Avanti West Coast said it would be running far fewer services from today.

Transport for London boss Andy Lord said: “We’re advising all our customers to only travel if their journey is essential.”

Roads are also expected to be deserted as gritters spread sand to stop the surface from melting.

The Met Office’s “danger to life” alert covers a swathe between London, Manchester and the Vale of York.

Last year, more than 1,600 additional fatalities were recorded due to heatwave.

Tracy Nicholls, head of the College of Paramedics, said: “This is serious heat that could ultimately end in people’s deaths.

NHS Confederation boss Lord Victor Adebowale also warned that Covid-hit hospitals were going to be “really, really pushed”.

With reservoirs bone dry, Affinity Water, supplier of 1.5million homes, said urgent action was needed in Essex and Herts.

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