VICTORIA -- British Columbia's top doctor says she's confident more COVID-19 restrictions can be lifted next week as planned due to dramatic declines in cases and because the person-to-person transmission rate has dropped.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says fewer infections reflect the power of vaccines, with nearly 73 per cent of eligible residents aged 12 and up having had their first shot.

However, only about eight per cent of those 18 and over have received both doses of a vaccine as the province pushes for more people to register for a second shot.

B.C. is expected to move to the second of its four-step reopening plan next Tuesday, when, among other things, indoor and outdoor personal gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed.

A return to travel within the province, high-intensity indoor group exercise and team sports are also part of the next step, and Henry says increased contact is expected to cause a rise in manageable clusters of the virus.

B.C. has recorded 153 new cases and four more deaths, for a total of 1,729 fatalities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2021.