This paper examines the experience of a set of countries that performed relatively well in coping with the COVID-19 crisis. The goal is to garner insights and lessons that can help countries that may experience initial or second-round outbreaks of the pandemic in the future. The paper finds healthcare, social protection, and overall governance systems as the three main determinants of COVID-19 strategies and their success. Though unique country-specific factors played an important role in confronting the pandemic in some countries, their role was generally mediated through one or the other of the above three main determinants. The findings of the paper suggest that establishing universal healthcare and social protection systems and improvement of governance need to be taken up as an immediate task - and not as a distant goal - even by developing countries. In view of the possibility of recurrence of epidemics in the future, this task has become important. 1. Introduction -- 2. Sample of countries and analytical scheme -- 3. Variation in identification of risk and their determinants across countries -- 4. Variations in containment measures across countries -- 5. Variations in quarantine and treatment measures -- 6. Variations in post-treatment and easing measures -- 7. COVID experiences of Brazil, Italy, and South Africa -- 8. COVID strategies and their determinants across countries - findings and lessons -- 9. Concluding remarks.