By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Thailand health officials reported another record day of COVID-19 cases and deaths on Saturday. The country saw 18,912 new coronavirus infections and 178 additional COVID-19 related fatalities, bringing the cumulative totals to  597,287 and 4,857, respectively.

In addition, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered internet service providers to immediately block the internet access of anyone who propagates information that may frighten people, prompting calls from the media that it is trying to crack down on criticism of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the order, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) shall notify internet service providers to check from which IP address such information has come. After that, the ISPs are to notify the NBTC and block internet access of the IP address in question.

The government already has sweeping powers to enforce measures to tackle the coronavirus and rules for control of the internet. Authorities have been taking legal action against some people, including some celebrities and social media influencers, who have criticized the pandemic response.

Thailand saw decent success at holding the pandemic at bay most of 2020, however this latest wave from the Delta variant has grown significantly, coupled with a sluggish vaccine rollout.