The COVID-19 crisis has fundamentally shaken societies and economies across the Asia-Pacific region and the world. Governments in the region have taken unprecedented measures to respond to the health, economic and social impacts of the crisis. Temporary social protection measures have played a prominent role. The crisis has provided a wake-up call to the significant gaps in coverage and adequacy of existing social protection systems, and dramatically increased the visibility to policy makers of those left behind. As some countries begin to enter what is likely to be a long recovery phase, this note reviews the story so far, and explores how short-term measures can be transformed into comprehensive and shock-responsive social protection systems, including social protection floors. Such systems have the potential to form a core component of wider recovery plans that seek not only to provide relief but influence a path to more sustainable and equitable economic and social development.