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 . 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 . 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.