Half of the new cases were in the Americas with Brazil and the USA suffering the highest number. More than 8.53 million people have been reported infected by coronavirus globally and 453,834 have died.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from Geneva: “The world is in a new and dangerous phase.
“The virus is still spreading fast, it is still deadly, and most people are still susceptible.”
Mr Tedros, whose leadership of the WHO has been severely criticised by US President Donald Trump, urged people to maintain social distancing and “extreme vigilance”.
As well as the Americas, a large number of new cases were coming from South Asia and the Middle East.
WHO emergencies expert Mike Ryan drew attention to the situation in Brazil, where he said there had been 1,230 additional COVID-19 deaths in the previous 24 hours.
He said about 12 percent of infections in Brazil involved healthcare workers and praised their bravery.
Brazil has the world’s worst outbreak outside the US, with 978,142 confirmed cases and 47,748 deaths.
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Mr Ryan urged a gradual and scientific approach with many nations easing restrictions but fearful of a second wave of infections.
He said: “Exiting lockdowns must be done carefully, in a step-wise manner, and must be driven by the data.
“If don’t know where it is the chances are the virus will surprise you.”
Mr Ryan said the resurgence of new clusters did not necessarily mean a second wave, while “second peaks” were also possible in one wave.
They said localised outbreaks of COVID-19 were still “likely” to occur and the virus remains in general circulation.
But the downgrade, which was recommended by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), means transmission of coronavirus is no longer considered to be “high or rising exponentially”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said moving to a lower alert level would allow the Government to “start making some progress” on the current social distancing measures and promised new guidance for the hospitality sector and businesses “very shortly”.
Government scientific advisers have said they would be comfortable with a reduced distance if risk mitigating measures were taken, such as people sitting side by side and wearing face coverings.