SEOUL, Nov. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases hit over 50,000 on Friday, continuing the mild uptrend from the previous week, as the virus wave is beginning to take hold with the onset of winter.
The country reported 53,698 new COVID-19 infections, including 39 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 26,837,840, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
Friday's figure is down from 59,089 logged the previous day, but an increase by about 4,200 compared with a week earlier, reflecting the moderate upward curve of the virus trend.
The KDCA reported 55 more deaths from the disease, putting the death toll at 30,278.
The number of critically ill patients came to 453, up 16 from Thursday. The number of critically ill patients jumped 16 percent to an average of 409 in the third week of November from a week ago, government data showed.
Health authorities have been bracing for what has become the seventh wave of the novel virus in the country.
Health Minister Cho Kyoo-hong vowed to make sure hospitals will have enough beds to accommodate 200,000 patients a day on a national basis.
"We need to have thorough medical responses ready as the number of critically ill patients among the elderly is rising," Cho said during a virus response meeting earlier in the day.
The COVID-19 infection reproduction index, an indicator showing the ability of the coronavirus or any other disease to spread, has stayed above 1 for the past five weeks, meaning cases are on the rise.