Rice is one of the most important food crops in Asian countries. So when this COVID-19 pandemic arrived in some countries, probably, one of the priorities of most Asians is to stock sacks of rice. 

In Vietnam, rice is not an issue for its people because of the rice ATMs--it gives rice for free!

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24/7 automatic rice dispensing machine 'Rice ATM' in Ho Chi Minh
(Photo : REUTERS/Yen Duong)
People get rice from a 24/7 automatic rice dispensing machine, 'Rice ATM', during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, April 11, 2020

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In a report by CNN, the rice ATMs have been set up to some areas in Vietnam to provide free rice for those who need it most. Unlike its neighboring Asian countries, Vietnam has lower numbers of COVID-19 cases--265 cases and zero deaths. 

Although they have lower numbers of cases, its government ensure that the virus will not spread across the country by ordering many small businesses to stop their operation, leaving thousands out of work.

Some people are affected by the shutdown of business operations, leaving them without income. With that, "businessmen and donors have set up machines that dispense free rice at several cities across Vietnam."

According to state-run news agency VNA, in Hanoi, there is a schedule in getting the free rice (from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day), and the residents get them from a large water tank. Just like other countries, Vietnam government ensures that its citizen practices social distancing. People who will get a sack of rice should wait in line and required to stand six feet apart from each other. To ensure they will not pass any germs, they must use hand sanitizer before receiving their rice, according to the local newspaper Hanoi Times. 

In the central city of Hue, a rice ATM is located at a college. It provides 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of free rice for local residents.

In Ho Chi Minh City, a rice ATM is available 24/7; Two rice ATMs are expected to be installed next week in Da Nang.

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