The covid-19 crisis has so far claimed more than 1.5 million lives and sent the global economy into a tailspin.
The two-day special session — the first it has convened in four years — was mandated by the General Assembly in November.
On Thursday, world leaders demanded urgent multilateral action to guarantee equitable distribution of life-saving vaccines and to trigger an economic recovery that can put the world back on track.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres underscoring the enormous global impact of covid-19, said that factual information and scientific guidance from the WHO should have been the basis for a coordinated global response.
"When countries go in their own direction, the virus goes in every direction," he said in a media release on Thursday.
Renewing his call for a global ceasefire so that countries can focus on fighting the novel coronavirus, he underscored the UN appeal for a stimulus package worth at least 10 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) as well as debt relief for all States that need it.
The General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene on Friday to continue its special session, including interactive panel discussions on the United Nations system response to the pandemic, the road to a vaccine and resilience and recovering better from covid-19, followed by the conclusion of its general debate.