BANGKOK — Thailand expects to have 140 million doses of coronavirus vaccines this year as the country ramps up inoculation to fight its biggest wave of infections, which shows some signs of easing, a government spokesman said on Sunday.

The Southeast Asian country is struggling to tackle the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus, which has seen record infections of over 23,000 earlier this month. On Sunday, it reported 16,536 new cases and 264 deaths.

While new cases remain high, they are likely to decline further, Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said in a statement.

With new cases slowing, the government on Friday announced to ease some of the strictest containment measures in Bangkok and other 28 high-risk provinces, allowing more travel, and malls and restaurants to reopen from Sept. 1, to help revive a flagging economy battered by the outbreak.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand is expected to soon issue a statement on the resumption of local flights to and from those areas as well as outbreak control measures.

However, airlines, including Asia Aviation and Bangkok Airways, have already announced the resumption of some local flights from next week.

Thailand started its mass vaccination drive in June, but so far only about 11% of its more than 66 million population has been fully vaccinated. — Reuters