The estimated budget is about $ 2 billion, said the organization's secretary general, Antonio Guterres.
The response plan will be implemented by United Nations agencies, with global nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and NGO consortia playing a direct role in the response, said Mark Lowcock, the United Nations undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs.
The plan will deliver essential laboratory equipment to test for the virus, and medical supplies to treat people; install hand-washing stations in camps and settlements; launch public information campaigns on prevention; and establish air bridges and hubs across Africa, Asia and Latin America to move humanitarian workers and supplies to where they are needed most, said Lowcock.
The United Nations is urging rich countries to help vulnerable nations such as North Korea and Yemen in efforts to fight the global spread of the coronavirus. "If we leave coronavirus to spread freely in these places, we would be placing millions at high risk, whole regions will be tipped into chaos and the virus will have the opportunity to circle back around the globe".
He acknowledged that countries battling the pandemic at home are "rightly prioritizing" their own communities, but added "the hard truth" that if they do not act now to help the poorest countries protect themselves, they would be failing to protect their own people.
The U.N.'s humanitarian office, OCHA, will coordinate the plan, which will bring together existing appeals from the World Health Organization and other U.N. partners.
The agency head sent a clear message to all countries to "heed this warning now, back this plan politically and financially today and we can save lives and slow the spread of this pandemic". Fore, said that children are "the hidden victims of the COVID-19 pandemic".
"The world is only as strong as our weakest health system", Guterres warned.