The current disruption in normal life in Canada could last up to “several months”, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday.

The number of persons infected with the Covid-19 virus in the country crossed 16,500 and by Monday evening and the death toll touched 323. Though a nationwide lockdown has not been enforced, restrictions continue to remain in place across the country.

“To stay at home, to continue this period of isolation and distance is the best way to get out as quickly as possible, but certainly it will be a case of several weeks, perhaps several months,” Trudeau said in a press conference.

Trudeau spoke even as thousands of Canadians became part of the first batch availing a federal bailout package, which provides CA$ 500 per week, to those who have been economically battered by the crisis.

Canadians have grave concerns about the period of economic hardship looming. According to a public opinion survey conducted by the non-profit Angus Reid Institute or ARI, 87% of those polled said that “on the economic front, the worst is yet to come.”

Trudeau has been in self-isolation since his wife Sophie Gregoire tested positive for the virus in mid-March. However, he has opted to work from home in isolation even after she was given the all clear by doctors. Trudeau indicated that he may return to “office” in the days ahead, though he will largely work from home, in this case Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, since that’s what he and the government has asked “of everyone.”

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