A flight carrying the first lot of Sputnik V vaccines from Russia landed in Hyderabad, Telangana on Saturday. Last month, the Drug Controller General (DCGI) had issued permission for Dr. Reddy's Laboratories to import the Russian vaccine to India for emergency use. 

The rollout of the Russian vaccine is expected to augment India's third phase of the vaccination drive which commenced today amid a record rise in COVID-19 cases. India for the first time has reported more than 4 lakh new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. 

A total of 4,01,993 fresh COVID-19 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours taking the cumulative count of the cases to 1,91,64,969, the Union Health Ministry reported on Saturday. 

Sputnik V is the third vaccine India has given the go-ahead to after Covishield, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and Covaxin, the indigenous vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech. Covishield is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

Earlier, the Indian envoy to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma had said that India expects between 150,000 to 200,000 ready-made vaccines to be available very quickly in the early part of May. Diplomatic sources had told ANI that India will get a substantive number of vaccines in the first tranche and the supply will continue in installments. India is expecting 5 million vials of Sputnik vaccines by the next month.

In other news, with 3,523 people succumbing to the infection in the last 24 hours, the death toll has mounted to 2,11,853 in India. Currently, there are 32,68,710 active cases of COVID-19 in the country. India also witnessed as many as 2,99,988 recoveries in the last 24 hours taking the cumulative recoveries to 1,56,84,406.

(Inputs from ANI)

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