Australia's Victoria to end lockdown amid case surge

COVID-19 infections in Australia's Victoria hit a pandemic record on Thursday, as Melbourne, the state capital, looks to end its lockdown earlier than planned next week.

The surge in daily cases comes as the state nears a 70 percent double-dose vaccination rate among adults, a threshold authorities promised would end a months-long lockdown.

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews:

"We have, fundamentally, a very important agreement with the Victorian community - you get vaccinated and we will open up, and I do what I say. So, that's why we're going to be opening up."

Victoria logged nearly 2,300 cases on Thursday, most in Melbourne - the highest number the country has recorded since the pandemic began.

The state also recorded eleven deaths.

Meanwhile Sydney continued a downward trend, even after it came out of a more than 100 day lockdown earlier this week.

The city's vaccination rate for people 16 and older is expected to surpass 80 percent this weekend.

Officials are bracing for a spike in infections in Australia's two largest cities once tough restrictions end, but they hope higher vaccination rates will limit hospitalizations.

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