Regular readers will know that I have very severe doubts about the British and Irish Lions’ tour to South Africa this summer. I just don’t think it should be taking place as the risks of Covid-19 to players, coaches and fans are just too great.

I certainly feel I have to sound the alarm about the Lions’ pre-tour match against Japan which is scheduled for Murrayfield on June 26.

With full Test status, the match is to be played in front of 16,500 spectators as approved by the Scottish Government. That is a quarter of the capacity of Murrayfield, but it will be the largest crowd for a rugby match in Britain since March last year.

I will not be one of those spectators because I feel it is just too early for crowds to be allowed back in stadia, even if social distancing is being practised. Put it this way, I’ll go to mass spectator events once every person attending has been doubly vaccinated and even then I won’t be entirely confident because new variants of the virus are appearing all the time.

While I have no doubt that the pandemic is coming under control here in Scotland, it certainly is not in Japan. Now you may say it’s only 36 players, a dozen or so coaches and maybe the same number of officials, but with the situation worsening in Japan, why are we even contemplating allowing any number of people in from that country?

Much of Japan is in a State of Emergency, the country has banned almost all travel – only Japanese citizens and foreign residents are allowed in - while mass vaccinations are only now being undertaken, starting in Tokyo and Osaka which has been particularly badly hit. Less than 4 per cent of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated.

Within the last 48 hours the USA has issued strong warnings. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated: “Travellers should avoid all travel to Japan.” For good measure CDC added: “Because of the current situation in Japan even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Japan.”

The State Department’s message was simple: “Do not travel to Japan due to Covid-19.” The surge in numbers is so bad that there have been public demonstrations seeking the cancellation of the Olympics scheduled for Tokyo in July. Opinion polls indicate that a majority of Japanese people would prefer the Olympics to be cancelled or postponed a second time.

The big problem for the organisers of the Murrayfield match is that Japan has incubated new variants of the virus, and it is not known exactly how many of these variants are circulating and what effect they can have – like the Indian variant, are they more easily transmissible?

Akira Takasu, head of emergency medicine at the Osaka Medical and Pharmaceutical University Hospital, told Reuters: "The Olympics should be stopped, because we already have failed to stop the flow of new variants from England, and next might be an inflow of Indian variants. This may be a trigger for another disaster in the summer."

News reports indicate that the situation has become so bad in recent weeks that the largely private health service is in danger of being overwhelmed. Yet we are supposed to blithely stand by while a planeload of Japanese people will arrive in our capital city next month. And how many fans will travel from countries other than Scotland? Sorry but this makes no sense and is yet another mixed message from the Scottish Government, though admittedly not as bad as the bonkers decision to allow 6,000 people into special fan zones in Glasgow for the European football championships..

I am well aware that the Scottish and Japanese rugby unions and the British and Irish Lions’ staff will be taking every possible precaution before, during and after the Murrayfield match, but as Dominic Cummings’ testimony in Parliament yesterday showed, practically nobody in authority in the UK knew what the coronavirus pandemic was all about and they still don’t get it – this is a virus unlike any other and until the whole world is vaccinated we are all still at risk, especially if, as is happening in Japan right now, new variants are being detected.

I just hope that Professor Jason Leitch and the rest of the advisers to the Scottish Government know what they are doing in allowing this match at Murrayfield to go ahead.

In any other time, the prospect of seeing the Lions play their first Test in Scotland against a Japan side featuring most of their star players from the 2019 World Cup would be an irresistible draw, but in all conscience I will remain very uneasy about the whole event until all those who play and attend at Murrayfield are home safe and sound.