Italy will ease coronavirus restrictions for arrivals from the rest of the EU from February, with passengers required to show proof of vaccination, recent recovery or a negative test, but not quarantine.

In December, as cases of the Omicron variant surged, Rome demanded coronavirus tests from everyone and a five-day quarantine for those who are not vaccinated - a tightening of the rules which irritated Brussels.

Under the decree signed by Health Minister Roberto Speranza late on Tuesday "the 'green pass' will be sufficient for travellers coming from countries within the European Union" from next month.

Italy's so-called green pass shows the bearer has been vaccinated, has recently recovered from the virus, or has tested negative.

The country's COVID Emergency chief said on Monday Italy appeared to have reached a peak in the number of Omicron infections, with cases of the highly contagious variant now on the decline.

Italy was the first EU country to experience a major outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020. 

In recent months, it has sought to control infections through the use of a health pass showing proof of vaccination, recent recovery or a negative test for everything from going to work to eating in restaurants.

More than 167,000 new cases were reported in Italy on Wednesday, and another 426 deaths.

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