Mumbai: Maharashtra is inching closer to the 90,000-mark for Covid-19 cases as the state’s tally of infections touched 88,528 on Monday. As lockdown curbs were eased under the state government’s “Mission Begin Again”, the authorities are expecting a surge in cases, especially in parts of Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune and Aurangabad. According to the state health department, the total active cases are 44,374. On Monday, the state recorded 2,553 new cases. The death toll reached 3,169 after 109 deaths were reported on Monday. The state government has allowed private offices in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) to operate with 10% of their workforce or 10 employees, whichever is higher. This relaxation, along with the resumption of bus services by Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), led to more traffic snarls on the roads. Last week, the state government allowed physical activities such as jogging and permitted non-essential shops to operate on alternate days in red zones, excluding containment areas. “We are closely monitoring the situation as we expect a surge in Mumbai Metropolitan Region and districts such as Pune and Aurangabad after the relaxations of curbs in three phases over the past one week,” said a senior official who didn’t wish to be named. Officials, however, said there was no surge in cases even after lockdown was relaxed. “There was a rise in cases in districts like Nashik and Aurangabad after the lockdown was lifted in the third week of May, but it was not a surge. The rise is proportional and the doubling rate of cases in these areas is improving. There was no exponential growth in cases,” said another official. The mortality rate has increased to 3.56% (3,060 deaths on June 7) from 3.27% (1,792 deaths on May 26). It is also more than the national mortality rate, which is 2.78% with 7,135 deaths till Sunday, according to the state medical education department. On a positive note, the recovery rate in the state is showing constant improvement. It was 26.25% on May 20 and 29.06% on May 24. It improved to 43.38% on May 29 after as many as 8,381 patients were reported as recovered following changes in norms for discharging patients. On Monday, the rate was 46.28% as 40,975 patients have been discharged so far.