Two flights into Milan were among the first to see passengers subjected to new mandatory testing imposed on Chinese travellers.
Guido Bertolaso, Lombardy regional councillor for welfare, told a news conference: "On the first flight, out of 92 passengers 35 (38%) are positive.
A further departure from restrictive COVID measures was taken when Hong Kong scrapped its restrictive quarantine regulations for people who test positive for coronavirus.
The US will impose mandatory COVID-19 tests on travellers from China, health officials told reporters on Wednesday evening.
The handful of foreign businesspeople and others who were allowed into China were quarantined for up to one week.
On Monday, the government said it would scrap quarantine requirements for travellers arriving from abroad, also effective from 8 January.
The Hong Kong government has confirmed it will not provide COVID vaccination to short-term visitors to the territory. »