As Vietnam announced a nation-wide lockdown earlier this month in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus, an entrepreneur in Ho Chi Minh City reportedly invented a 27X7 automatic dispensing machine which provides rice for people in need. Currently, Vietnam has more than 265 confirmed coronavirus cases and no deaths so far. However, with the lockdown measures, several small businesses have been shuttered and thousands of people temporarily laid off from work.
In a bid to help people who lost their job, Hoang Tuan Anh, the businessman, came up with the ‘Rice ATM’ idea. As per reports, the machine distributes around 1.5 Kilograms of rice from a small silo to the people in need. Hoang had initially donated a batch of art doorbells to hospitals before coming up with the food distribution idea.
While speaking to a Vietnamese local media outlet, Hoang reportedly said that he wanted people to feel they still had access to food and resources, despite the current economic difficulties. He said that he refers to the machine as a ‘rice ATM’ because people can withdraw rice from it and give them an assurance that there are still good people out there who want to give them a ‘second chance’. Meanwhile, a person who lost his job reportedly said that the machine has been helpful for him as with the bag of rice he is able to feed his family for one day.
According to an international media outlet, the ‘rice ATMs’ have also been set up in other big cities like Hanoi, Hue and Danang. The family’s suffering from the lockdown and unemployment reportedly said that they hope that the sponsors would keep providing them with food until the end of the epidemic as several people are loving on the margin and have not received enough support from the government.
Coronavirus, which originated in China in December 2019, has now claimed over 115,000 lives worldwide as of April 13. According to the tally by an international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 210 countries and territories and has infected more than 1.8 million people. Out of the total infections, more than 433,000 have recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries including Spain, and the economy is struggling.