THE COUNTRY’S Trade chief wants the government to relax restrictions during lockdowns for people who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as the vaccination rate improves.

“We can suggest a change in protocol,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez told an online news briefing on Tuesday. “During lockdowns, we can allow the vaccinated to go out,” he said in Filipino.

Fully vaccinated workers can work on site and inoculated consumers could move more freely, he said, noting that the proposed rule would be premised on improved vaccination rates and supply.

Unvaccinated people would have to stay home to be protected against the virus, Mr. Lopez added. He asked the public to prepare for potential rule changes and avail themselves of vaccines.

Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Jose Ma. “Joey” Concepcion III has been advocating for the creation of “bubbles” for fully vaccinated people, or areas where they can move freely.

He earlier said the country could have enough lockdown-free areas through these bubbles.

The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention said coronavirus vaccines, like those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, Inc. reduce the risk of hospitalization and death. Vaccinated people are also less likely to acquire COVID-19 or transmit it to others.

“However, the risk for (COVID-19) breakthrough infection in fully vaccinated people cannot be completely eliminated as long as there is continued community transmission of the virus,” the public health agency said.

Mr. Lopez said 16% of about a million Philippine businesses are at risk of remaining shut if the strict lockdown in the capital region is extended.

He reiterated his support for easing restrictions in Metro Manila to the less strict modified enhanced community quarantine while imposing “granular lockdowns” in areas with a high infection risk. — Jenina P. Ibañez