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Politics

Bhutan lifts tobacco ban to block COVID spillover from India

After pandemic, Thimphu may ease centuries of control of 'sinful' weed

Bhutan has relaxed its tobacco ban to combat the coronavirus pandemic, whose most worrisome case entered the Himalayan kingdom from across the border. (Photo by Phuntsho Wangdi)

THIMPHU -- The remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, one of the first countries to ban tobacco sales, has temporarily lifted the prohibition in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The "interim measure," which has sparked a national discourse over its merits and legality, aims to curb the infections that smugglers can bring along with tobacco across the porous southern border with India, where COVID-19 cases have exploded in recent weeks.

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