Tokyo (Agencies): A continuing heatwave in Japan has seen scorching temperatures reach as high as 40C, killing at least 30 people over the past two weeks.

People across the country have been urged to take precaution as more than 12,000 people have been sent to hospital in the first two weeks of July, official figures show as the temperature neared 40 degrees C (104 F) in many cities on Sunday.

More than 9,900 people were rushed to hospital during the week to mid-July, jumping from 2,700 in the previous week, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

Temperatures in the ancient capital of Kyoto have been above 38C for seven days straight – a level unseen since record-keeping first began.

Japan’s meteorological agency told people to drink sufficient water to prevent heat exhaustion.

Kyodo News agency reported that at least 11 people, mostly elderly citizens, died on Saturday alone from suspected heatstroke.

A total of 3,091 ambulances were dispatched in Tokyo on Saturday, a record for a single day, it said.

The weather agency said Sunday’s temperatures exceeded 35 degrees C at 233 observation points across the nation by mid-afternoon.