* UPDATE: After this column was published, the SRU issued a joint statement with the Chief Medical Officer concerning the game on Sunday. It can be read here: https://www.scottishrugby.org/news/scottish-rugby-confirms-major-public-health-push-at-6-nations-matches

A FEW people thought I was scaremongering last week when I suggested that the rest of the Six Nations might need to be postponed because of Covid-19 which I will continue to call Wuhan Coronavirus.

I asked where was the advice from the SRU and Scottish Government and NHS Scotland to those fans who were following the Scottish men’s and women’s teams and suggested there might be plenty fans passing through the ‘infected’ areas of the Veneto and Lombardy.

Little did I know how correct I was. I received the following e-mail within hours of my column being published – for obvious reasons the sender must remain anonymous.

“A number of my acquaintances attended the match last week in Rome - some of whom travelled through Milan. Several have now been instructed by their employers to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“All this has been treated as a joke in online banter - although the implications to those involved are far from comical. Despite this, most involved consider they will be perfectly safe to travel to Cardiff in two weeks time.

“Meantime the match against France at Murrayfield is approaching and a deafening silence emanates from the SRU. No doubt financial implications are of greater importance than public health. Time will tell.”

I double-checked this alarming information and the fact is that several of the affected fans travelled via Milan to and from Rome and they have all now returned home to various places around Europe, but especially Dundee and Glasgow.

I’m delighted to say that of those fans tested, there have been no cases of the virus identified but several remain self-quarantined.

It is not being alarmist to point out that France has already banned mass gatherings of more than 5,000 people, has stopped all school trips outside of the country and shut dozens of schools. Four people in France have already died from the virus, and many more will follow. In other words, France is contaminated, not as much as Italy but getting there, and we now have our first case in Scotland involving a Tayside person who recently travelled to Italy – could it have been a rugby fan?

I think every Scottish fan who went to Italy and mingled with Italians should get themselves tested for Covid-19. It makes sense given the incubation period of up to 14 days.

As for the rest of the tournament, it should be called off now.

There’s little doubt that the Italy v England match will be postponed, following the cancellation of the Ireland v Italy game, so this year’s Six Nations championship will not be finished until much later in the year anyway.

As a fan long before I wrote about the sport, I know that much of the fun of the Six Nations, or Five as it used to be, is fetching up a couple of days early and making a weekend of things. I bet even now there are French fans on their way to Scotland.

The SRU and the Scottish Government in consultation with the French Government and the Six Nations should collectively have the courage and call off Sunday’s game now, but I doubt that will happen because there’s too much money at stake – even though there would probably be even more to be earned if the match was postponed and played in late summer or early autumn when hopefully we will see the back of this virus. Mako Vunipola of England has shown responsibility by self-isolating - all rugby unions should do the same.

If the match is to go ahead on Sunday, then Scotland must pick up on the improvement they showed against Italy. The Azzurri did not play particularly well but still troubled Scotland though in the end the victory was comfortable enough.

Had Ali Price's 'try' not been chopped off, we would have been celebrating a bonus point victory. It would have been deserved because Scotland won all the big personal battles that I wrote about before the game, particularly in the front row where Rory Sutherland was immense and at the breakdown where the likes of Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson were quite superb.

Stuart Hogg finally showed what he has to offer as captain and his try was the best of the weekend and probably the best individual effort of the tournament so far.

I'm glad that Finn Russell and Greg Townsend appeared to have agreed on a way forward but I will never stop thinking that if Russell had played in this tournament Scotland might well be sitting as genuine contenders for the Championship.

That being said, I think France will win on Sunday and go on to win the Grand Slam. They have improved with every game and have the best squad in the Six Nations, so they deserve to be champions. But they could get their bubble burst at Murrayfield, which I hope will be the last match of a tournament which is not as important as a single human life.