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Conducting in-action and after-action reviews of the public health response to COVID-19

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The unprecedented events of the COVID-19 pandemic have placed enormous strain on the health and economic systems of countries worldwide. In roughly 20 EU/EEA countries, it appears that physical distancing measures have had an impact and that the initial wave of transmission has started to decline [1]. Given that the COVID-19 pandemic is not expected to end for at least several more months, there is a need to assess what has happened so far, to identify strategic priorities, and to exchange lessons learned [1-3]. This will help to optimise the response to the next phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, by providing an evidence-based approach to identifying and implementing new actions based on the lessons learned. It may also help identify appropriate de-escalation strategies [4]. During later phases of the pandemic, countries will be advised to review their full response to COVID-19. Systematically identifying and acting upon lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic will be of the utmost importance to guide preparedness and response planning and strengthen health systems in the coming years.