WASHINGTON, March 12 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he had no time to consult with European allies before announcing coronavirus travel restrictions, but hoped the curbs on travel to Europe and China could be lifted very quickly.
Trump spoke to reporters in an Oval Office meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar a day after imposing sweeping measures to prevent people from 26 European countries - except for Britain and Ireland - from traveling to the United States in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Trump said he had excluded Britain from the curbs because it was doing a good job in tackling the coronavirus. He said he was unable to consult with European officials before implementing the restrictions because he had to move quickly.
Trump said it was possible the United States would need to extend the curbs of travel from Europe beyond the current 30 days but could also could shorten the restrictions, which have angered European leaders.
The Republican president also said says he did not support a coronavirus economic relief bill the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote on Thursday because it includes unrelated issues. He said be believed the stock market, which entered bear market territory this week, would bounce back from recent falls.
Trump added that he was not yet ready to invoke emergency disaster powers over the outbreak.
The president said he did not shake hands with Varadkar at their meeting because of the coronavirus. (Reporting by Steve Holland and Susan Heavey; writing by David Brunnstrom; editing by Jonathan Oatis)