Microsoft has made it much more difficult to view protection history. To open Defender, use a shortcut to
ms-settings:windowsdefender ... but then as you state you must manually open Virus & threat protection, which then runs SecHealthUI.exe in "C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.SecHealthUI_cw5n1h2txyewy". Trying to open that executable directly fails. sigh. And then, following the thread to finally open Protection History initially displays "No recent actions'" and one must wait for history to be shown.
However: You can quickly view current threats in quarantine in a CMD prompt, with Powershell or with third party tools, though.
To see quarantined items from CMD:
Press Windows, type cmd, and press ShiftCtrlEnter to get a CMD prompt as Administrator.
Enter(copy and paste) the following:
"C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe" -Restore -ListAll
Press Enter to see all files in quarantine.
To view quarantine in PowerShell, use the following commandlets:
Nirsoft's WinDefThreatsView is perhaps the quickest way to view quarntine.
Regrettably, this is not a complete answer to your question, as I know of no shortcut to display full Protection History.