UPDATED: $500-a-week COVID-19 benefit to be extended eight weeks: PM

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OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government's signature benefit for people whose jobs have vanished amid the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended by eight weeks.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit pays up to $500 a week and was slated to last 16 weeks starting in mid-March, meaning that people who signed up for it immediately would soon run out.

Trudeau says the economy is recovering from the mass closures ordered to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus but there's a long way to go.

Extending the CERB has been a demand from the New Democrats in exchange for the party's support for the minority Liberals in an upcoming confidence vote.