Speaking at the international body's first meeting on the pandemic, the secretary general, Antonio Guterres, said the outbreak had the potential to increase social unrest and violence.
The meeting, the first of its kind since the outbreak began in China late last year, was held behind closed doors by video conference.
“To prevail against the pandemic today, we will need to work together," he said. "That means heighten,” he said on Thursday.
The novel coronavirus, which causes a respiratory illness — dubbed COVID-19 — has infected more than 1,600,000 people and claimed the lives of over 96,000 others globally, as of Friday morning, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
The pandemic has confined billions of people to their homes and pushed the world into a recession.