Some have enviable vaccination rates; others have decided that the cost of continued economic and social constraints outweighs the benefits.
Here are five nations that need to keep a close eye on how their new strategies unfold.
The Danish government lifted all remaining coronavirus restrictions in the country on September 10, saying that Covid-19 was no longer “a disease that is a critical threat to society.”
Danes can now enter nightclubs and restaurants without showing a “Covid passport”, use public transport without wearing face clothing and meet in large numbers without restrictions – essentially returning to life before the pandemic.
The key to Denmark’s success lies in part in its spread of vaccinations: as of September 13, over 74% of Denmark’s population was fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to Our World in Data.
The transmission rate, or R-rate, is currently at 0.7, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke tweeted on Wednesday, meaning the epidemic continues to fall. If it is above 1.0, Covid-19 cases will increase in the near future. If it is below 1.0, cases will fall in the near future.
“The vaccines and all citizens in Denmark’s great efforts over a long period of time are the basis for us doing so well,” said Heunicke.
Despite such optimism, Heunicke sounded a warning last month when the government announced the planned end date for restrictions. “Even though we are in a good place right now, we are not out of the epidemic. And the government will not hesitate to act quickly if the pandemic again threatens important functions in our society,” he said.
Singapore: Trying to live with Covid, but Delta does not help
The Singapore government announced in June that it planned to move towards a Covid strategy – trying to control vaccine outbreaks and monitor hospitalizations rather than restricting citizens’ lives.
“The bad news is that Covid-19 may never disappear. The good news is that it is possible to live normally with it in our midst,” Singapore’s top Covid-19 officials wrote in a statement at the time.
Authorities began easing some restrictions in August so that fully vaccinated people could eat at restaurants and gather in groups of five, up from two.
Singapore’s Covid-19 task force said it would try to limit the outbreak through more aggressive contact tracking, “ring-fencing” cases and clusters and more frequent mandatory testing for high-risk workers.
Singapore pursued an aggressive “zero-Covid strategy” before changing its approach and has one of the highest Covid-19 vaccination rates in the world, with 81% of the population fully vaccinated.
Thailand: Slow vaccination, but it opens anyway
Under the expanded program, tourists who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and commit to a test regime will be allowed to enter the capital, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Chiang Mai, according to Reuters.
Phuket Island reopened to vaccinated foreign visitors on July 1 without quarantine requirements. On July 15, the country launched a similar program on the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao, called “Samui Plus.”
Although it kept the number of infections low in 2020 thanks to successful containment measures, Thailand has struggled to keep things in check this year.
Vaccination rates are lagging behind some neighbors. Nearly 18% of the Thai population was fully vaccinated against Covid-19 on September 13, according to Our World in Data, with a further 21% partially vaccinated.
South Africa: Lighter restrictions, but Delta is still a threat
Among other measures, the nationwide night ban has been shortened to 11pm until 4am, the size of permitted gatherings has been increased to 250 people indoors and 500 outdoors, and restrictions on alcohol sales have been further reduced.
Ramaphosa warned that a devastating third wave of infections driven by the more transmissible Delta variant was not over, but added that the country now has enough vaccine doses to cover the entire adult population, with more than a quarter of adults receiving at least one dosage.
He urged everyone to be vaccinated and comply with the remaining restrictions to allow the country to return to normal.
“The third wave is not over yet, and it is only through our actions individually and collectively that we will be able to reduce the number of new infections,” he said.
Chile: High vaccination rates mean tourists can return
The country has already begun distributing booster shots to those who are fully vaccinated. The health authorities on Thursday approved the use of the Chinese vaccine Sinovac for children aged six years and over; grafting started Monday.
Despite the threat posed by the Delta variant, the government on Wednesday announced steps to reopen the country to international tourism from October 1, just in time for the Southern Hemisphere’s nation’s summer season.
Foreign non-residents will be able to enter provided they meet certain requirements and are isolated for five days on arrival.
“The fact that foreign tourists can come to Chile is an important step in the recovery of incoming tourism,” said Tourism Deputy Minister José Luis Uriarte. “It is important to point out that this is the first step and we will be able to move forward as long as we maintain the right health conditions.”
CNN’s Ben Westcott, David McKenzie, Henrik Petterssen and Jack Guy contributed to this report.