Public Health England (PHE) has issued a cold weather alert for the whole of England from 9am Saturday 6 February to 9pm Wednesday 10 February.

The Met Office has forecast the weather will become much colder over the weekend for all regions with wintry showers, and a risk of snow and ice in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands and East of England. Snow is also expected in London and Southeast England.

Temperatures beyond the weekend are likely to drop even lower with a very cold snap anticipated next week. Wintry conditions could bring temperatures much lower than usual for February and for a typical winter season, particularly for regions in the North and East of England.

Dr Owen Landeg, Group Leader, Extreme Events and Health Protection at PHE, said:

Cold weather isn’t just uncomfortable, it can have a serious impact on health. For older people and those with heart and lung problems, it can increase the risks of heart attacks, strokes and chest infections.

So it’s really crucial at this time, especially ahead of a potentially very cold snap, to remember to check on frail or older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses.

Make a call, or socially-distanced doorstep visit if they live close by, to remind them of some simple but important health tips such as heating their home to at least 18 Celsius, 64.4 Fahrenheit and to keep up to date with the forecast. It’s also helpful to check they have enough food and drinks and any medicines they need. This will help them to stay warm and stay well.

To check the latest weather forecast updates visit the Met Office website or app.

This year PHE has supplemented the Cold Weather Plan for England with useful resources and advice on the concurrent risks of cold weather and COVID-19 and how to keep warm and keep well this winter.