The UK has laid out its road map for lifting all lockdown restrictions by the end of June, but many major economies are taking a different approach.
The British Government’s strategy is underpinned by the rapid rollout of its vaccine programme, with 17.7 million people having received their dose as of Sunday.
But other nations were more cautious in approving vaccines, and are wary of over-promising while the full risk posed by Covid-19 variants are still unknown.
Our closest neighbour is a long way behind the UK’s vaccine total, with just 2.6 million having their first jab so far.
But despite stubbornly high infection rates, particularly around Nice, the French are not under lockdown.
Instead, there is a national curfew in force between 6pm and 6am, meaning hospitality businesses still have a chance to trade in the daytime.
Schools in some areas – including Bordeaux, Grenoble and Lyon – have reopened following the introduction of lateral flow testing for students, with more due to open in the coming weeks.
A localised lockdown is due to come into force this weekend in the Alpes-Maritimes region for a minimum of two weeks to try to bring the spike in cases under control.
The area around Nice currently has 7,000 cases for every 100,000 inhabitants, the highest rate in France.
The current nationwide shutdown in Germany is due to last until March 7 – having been imposed in November – with a potential extension to be discussed by regional leaders on March 3.
But current restrictions are set to be softened slightly ahead of that date, with hairdressers allowed to reopen from March 1 subject to strict hygiene measures.
Schools and daycare centres are also starting to reopen, with individual states having control of how they approach lifting restrictions on education.
Employers must allow all those who can to work from home until at least March 15.
Italy, one of the hardest-hit European nations – is currently relying on an approach similar to the UK’s previous tier system, with regions assigned as either white, yellow, orange or red.
Under the rules imposed by the newly formed government, there can be no visits between regions until at least March 27, with no inter-household visiting at all in red zones.
But with increasing concern over new variants of the virus, there are growing calls from some quarters, notably senior health adviser Walter Ricciardi, for universal measures to be imposed.
Lockdown could get significantly tighter for Italians before it is lifted.
– Australia and New Zealand
It is a dramatically different picture in Australia and New Zealand, where swift and very strict border restrictions imposed at the very start of the pandemic have allowed the two nations to avoid protracted lockdowns.
But a leading Australian epidemiologist has said a system of hotel quarantine for new arrivals could be in place for a long time yet, as scientists gauge the threat posed by new variants.
Professor Catherine Bennett, of Deakin University in Victoria, told the All Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus on Tuesday: “We do have to have the big conversations about whether we let the virus into the country.
“If we think the vaccines have covered us enough to protect our elderly, our vulnerable, our health systems from the impact of serious illness and deaths, then it might be that we are in a position to relax the borders.”
Prof Bennett said Australia might get to a point where the quarantine system focuses on screening for variants, thereby allowing those positive for less-worrying strains waved through border control.
Those positive for vaccine-resistant strains would potentially be detained in hotels for two weeks, she said.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been firm that she will not consider reopening the country’s borders to foreign nationals until its citizens are “vaccinated and protected”.
Currently, it’s vaccination programme for its wider population is not scheduled to start until the second half of the year.
Many parts of Japan are currently under a state of emergency, which imposes restrictions including reduced hours for the hospitality industry, an 8pm curfew, and encourages working from home.
The measures are due to stay in place until March 7.
Japan only began its mass vaccination programme last month, and may consider extending the lockdown in some regions to allow the programme to take effect.