Just weeks ago, Singapore seemed like a poster child for pandemic management. With more than 80% of its population fully vaccinated and a road map in place for easing its strict COVID-19 rules, the city-state seemed ready to live with the virus in a way that few countries were.

Then, infection rates began to soar.

Now, the island nation is looking more like a real-time illustration of how challenging the pivot away from a COVID-19 elimination strategy is going to be. For other places that have taken a zero-tolerance approach to the virus — such as China, Hong Kong and Australia — it’s a valuable lesson.