“We should always live in positive thoughts,” she said.

TEL AVIV – Ester Wienrib rang in her 97th birthday this week with a video call and remote cake-cutting with her great-grandchildren – a cautious celebration as her family tries to avoid exposing her to the coronavirus.

The elderly are particularly vulnerable to the respiratory illness and Israel, which has nearly 300 confirmed cases, has urged its citizens to keep their distance from older relatives.

Fear of contracting the coronavirus has created a new reality for Wienrib, a Holocaust survivor who came to Israel from Poland over 70 years ago.

“I’ve been through difficult times. We will get through this as well,” said Wienrib, a grandmother of five and great-grandmother of 10. She has been mostly confined to her assisted living facility in Tel Aviv since the virus broke out.

Wienrib smiled as her great-grandchildren sang happy birthday to her through a video call from their home in Hulda, a Kibbutz about 35 kilometers (21.75 miles) away in central Israel.

She later cut a birthday cake with a “98” candle on it – showing one extra year for good luck.

“I am healthy and have my wits about me. I play cards. I have friends,” she said. “We should always live in positive thoughts.”