Soaring temperatures have gripped parts of southern and northern India in an extreme heat wave which has killed at least 800 people and looks set to continue this week, officials said on Monday.
The hottest place in India was Allahabad, a city in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, which saw mercury rise to 117.8 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, while the capital Delhi recorded a high of 110.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most of the 539 recorded deaths have been of construction workers, the elderly or the homeless in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, said officials, but some deaths have also occurred in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.
India's Meteorological Department said it had issued heat warnings to several states where temperatures were forecast to top 113 degrees Fahrenheit over the next few days.
"As of now, we don't predict any respite from the extreme heatwave for the next few days," said spokesman B. P. Yadav.
Director of Andhra Pradesh's Disaster Management Department K. Dhananjaya Reddy said 325 people had died of sunstroke or dehydration in the state in the last three days.
"We are advising people not to go to work between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.," said Reddy. "We have also opened centers in different places specially in urban areas for the distribution of water and buttermilk."
More than 200 people have died in the state of Telangana, officials said.
The government has canceled the leave of all doctors as hospitals were being flooded with cases of heatstroke, he said, adding that compensation of 100,000 rupees, which is about $1,575, will be given to families of people who had died.
Taxi drivers in Kolkata — capital of West Bengal state where four deaths have been reported — refused to work between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. after two cabbies died in their cars last week.
The monsoon, predicted to hit southern India's coastline on May 31, will bring some relief from the high temperatures, said weather officials.