Egyptian health authorities say at least 40 people have died in the last two days amid a scorching heatwave hitting the country.

The Health Ministry says that 19 people died Monday when temperatures reached around 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) in the country's north. The ministry says the heatwave killed 21 people Sunday.

The ministry said Tuesday that most of those killed were the elderly. Twenty-six people died in the capital, Cairo, a crowded, sprawling city of at least 18 million. Three who died from the heat were patients in a psychiatric hospital north of Cairo.

Egyptian summers are usually hot, but an unprecedented heatwave has been baking the region in recent weeks.