Isolation periods which are too long may actually increase the spread of the disease. If people are afraid of excessive isolation periods, they are less likely to get tested and to comply with contact tracers. Most people want to protect themselves and their families, but if the possible cost of getting tested is a pointless 10 day home detention sentence, many will decide it is not worth the risk.
Conversely, excessive isolation periods also encourage people to live in a self-imposed lockdown to avoid the risk of missing work and important events due to isolation. These self-imposed lockdowns can be as damaging to hospitality businesses as those imposed directly by the Government.
And, of course, excessive isolation periods also impose significant costs on those who have to obey them. They are needlessly being held inside, unable to work and provide for their families and unable to participate in society.
This can also have wider societal consequences. If entire workplaces — or even a sufficiently large proportion of their workforce — are struck down by excessive isolation periods, our economy could soon grind to a halt. Although the Government has made allowances for “critical industries”, its judgement about what industries are truly “critical” is not infallible. The economy is far too complex to be divided into critical/non-critical. We may soon find that many supposedly “auxiliary” industries play a critical role in maintaining our standard of living.