LISBON, Portugal (AP) — In its fight against COVID-19, Portugal lifted restrictions on gatherings and movements for four days over Christmas so that people could spend the festive season with family and friends. Soon after the holiday, the pandemic quickly got out of hand. Portugal has for almost a week had the most daily new infections and deaths per 100,000 people in the world, according to statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Portugal’s problems illustrate the risk of letting down pandemic guards when a new, fast-spreading variant is lurking. Health experts warn the pandemic’s spread across Europe is being powered by an especially contagious virus variant first detected last year in southeast England.